High school students’ efforts pay off for FCA concert

MARSHALL – In response to enormous community support last year, when a handful of Marshall High School students worked to bring Christian pop artist Britt Nicole to Marshall, Fellowship of Christian Athletes members were able to duplicate the effort again this year.

Only this time, the girls are bringing a variety of Christian pop-rock groups, including Building 429, Family Force 5 and Hawk Nelson, who are part of the “We Won’t Be Shaken” tour.

“I’m really excited,” MHS sophomore Lexi Saugstad said. “It should be good. I like Christian music because it’s really uplifting. It focuses on God and puts your heart on God when you listen to it.”

Along with her sister, Morgan Saugstad, a junior at MHS, Lexi Saugstad and sophomores Julia Marshall, Marah Mulso and Sadie Zahrbock were part of the fundraising and organizing effort to bring Christian music to the Marshall area this year.

“We stayed in contact with the manager who helped us with Britt last year, and he offered to help us bring Building 429 here,” Lexi Saugstad said. “I knew a lot about them because I’d seen them at LifeLight in Sioux Falls. We’re hoping to sell out again.”

While the others helped last year, Zahrbock just got on board this time around.

“I wasn’t part of the effort last year, but I was very excited about that concert. I loved it, so I asked if I could help this year,” Zahrbock said. “It’s been fun working with everyone. We’re really excited.”

While fundraising proved to be the most challenging part of the effort, the girls remained confident that the experience was worth it.

“We fundraised a lot,” Zahrbock said. “We went to a lot of businesses and asked for their blessing. We told them about the concert and our hopes for getting Building 429. And we were able to get enough money to get them here. People were very generous. It’s nice because it benefits the whole community.”

Zahrbock’s favorite Building 429 song is “Where I Belong,” which became Billboard Magazine’s No. 1 Christian song in 2012, setting an impressive record as the first song to remain at No. 1 for 15 weeks.

“The song is like the gospel, where they say this is not their home,” she said. “This is not where they belong and Heaven is the final place for them. I like the gospel, their lyrics and their songs.”

Along with the girls and their parents, Robin Knudson, the Southwest Minnesota field associate for FCA, was also instrumental in getting the bands to Marshall.

“Robin was a big help,” Zahrbock said. “She set up most of the appointments for us and not many of us drive, so she took us there, too.”

For Knudson, it’s all about supporting young people who want to have a positive impact on their community. They deserve all the credit, she said.

“Once again, the girls started dreaming and we’re excited such a great concert is coming to Marshall,” Knudson said.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at MHS. While people are filtering in, two bands will perform, Saugstad said. The three other bands will take the stage, one after another, at 6:30 p.m.

This year marks the first time a concert will be in the MHS gym.